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Performance

We could predict some results of the RT-N15 in tests because we had tested two routers based on the same chipset and both had showed similar performance of the WAN ports. Those routers’ results had been rather low, so we did not expect anything exceptional from the RT-N15.

We take one of the two previously tested RT2880-based routers for the sake of comparison. It is the Edimax BR-6574n. It was far from impressive in our wired connection tests but delivered a surprisingly high speed of wireless connection. Besides the two routers, we will use the following equipment:

  • Two category 5e Ethernet cables
  • Edimax EW-7708Pn PC Card
  • Intel Centrino notebook
  • PC with a mainboard that has a Gigabit Ethernet controller (running Ubuntu 8.10)
  • IxChariot’s High_Performance_Throughput and Throughput scenarios

First we will measure the router’s maximum bandwidth using two of its LAN ports.

LAN-LAN:

The results are indicative of the characteristic features of the RTL8366SR. It offers a high top speed but has frequent slumps.

Next we measured the bandwidth of the router’s WAN-LAN segment. We tested a direct connection as well as a VPN tunnel. As you know, a VPN connection is almost always accompanied with a considerable reduction in the data-transfer rate. We tested the direct connection by specifying the WAN port address manually and exchanging data between the two endpoints in both directions. When testing a VPN connection, we chose the PPPoE protocol. We established a PPPoE server on the Linux machine (see the list of test equipment above) and an IXIA endpoint. Then we connected the tested rooter to that server and attached a notebook with IxChariot to the router’s LAN. Here are the results for both routers.

The router had the same results irrespective of whether its firewall and QoS services were on or off. So, the results below refer to when the mentioned services were turned on.

LAN-WAN (ASUS RT-N15):

LAN-WAN (Edimax BR-6574n):

WAN-LAN (ASUS RT-N15):

WAN-LAN (Edimax BR-6574n):

PPPoE (ASUS RT-N15):

PPPoE (Edimax BR-6574n):

You can see that both routers deliver good performance although the BR-6574n is nearly always ahead of the RT-N15. This is odd as the two models are almost identical on the hardware level. Anyway, the results indicate that the RT2880 processor’s resources are utilized fully and you cannot expect high performance from routers based on it.

The next test shows the router’s performance with peer-to-peer networks (when there are many simultaneous connections). To perform this test we created a pair in IxChariot using the Throughput scenario in which we changed the file_size parameter from 100,000 to 1,000,000. Then we began to increase the number of pairs by replicating them until there were errors during the test. And the ASUS router came up the winner as it could maintain 200 simultaneous connections as opposed to the BR-6574n’s 160. This must be due to the fact that the RT-N15 has more system memory.

The wireless connection in draft 802.11n mode was tested using WPA2 PSK encryption with the AES algorithm. These security settings are the default ones in the draft version of the new standard and are likely to remain such in the final version.

The BR-6574n is good in this test even in comparison with some expensive top-end routers, so it is no wonder that the ASUS RT-N15 is inferior to it.

Finally we tested the router’s coverage at different distances and with different obstacles. We measured the signal level in five points:

Point 1: Near the router
Point 2: At a distance of 4 meters without obstacles
Point 3: At a distance of 5 meters + two thin gypsum wallboards
Point 4: At a distance of 6 meters + one brick wall, about 30cm thick
Point 5: At a distance of 17 meters + one thin gypsum wallboard and two 30cm brick walls

Here are the results:

The RT-N15 is better in this test. Its internal antennas are better than the external ones of the BR-6574n.

Having tested the RT-N15, we can say that it is no different from other RT2880-based products in terms of performance. The cheap chipset does not allow it to be fast. Its WAN speed is comparable to that of previous-generation routers with 100Mbps Ethernet. The good news is that the wireless connection speed of the RT-N15 meets the Draft N 2.0 requirements. Besides, the router has a large WLAN coverage zone.

 
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